The intellectual side of defence forces
It is hoped that the National Defence University, like those of the United States of America, China and Russia, will be the centre of studies that nurture graduates capable of formulating strategies that help to protect, defend, and safeguard national interests
During colonial days, the Rhodesian Security Forces (RSF) were mostly governed by a military leadership of narrow academic exposition. The mandate of the RSF was the protection, defence and safeguarding of the colonial legacy of suppressing black Africans by brutalising them. The RSF was a tool used for the advancement of the doctrine of black subjugation that was savagely employed by the Smith and late Muzorewa regimes.
The doctrine was defined by suppression, inhuman treatment, racial discrimination, misrule, oppressive democratic practises, racial governance and such other issues like suppressing freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
The non-existence of a leadership of any meaningful intellectual capacity was a Rhodesian regime strategy of wanting to control the force to carry out inhuman activities such as the genocide at Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Freedom Camp, Mulungushi and the recently exposed Chibondo massacres.
Sadly, this colonial mentality seems to have engulfed some of the Zimbabwean academics who have fallen in the same pit holes as RSF of glorifying the colonial legacies.
Imagine Tendai Biti saying Zimbabwe has not known democracy since 1890 when he in fact crafted ZDERA. Imagine Obert Gutu telling the Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay that Zimbabwe had no human rights legislative framework when in fact he was a legislator and part of the executive responsible for drafting such a legislative framework through a bill for Parliament to enact such a law. Imagine lawyers for human rights being mum about the atrocities at Chibondo.
Imagine civil society organisations advocating for western democratic and governance principles that were used to operationalise the colonial doctrine of subjugation.
Fellow citizens, the list of Zimbabwean academics that work to demonise Zimbabwe and making the public suffer is as scaringly high as was that of RSF.
The Zimbabwean Defence Forces (ZDF) from the days of the liberation struggle and to independence continued to be led by a military leadership of rare intellect exposition.
The ZDF before independence, were ably led by fine academic brains of Generals Josiah Magama Tongogara and Lookout Masuku.
They were men of both military and academic disposition who were governed by the need to liberate Zimbabwe from the chains of slavery and subjugation.
They were philosophically guided by the chimurenga theory, which is a philosophy of self-determination that demands us to be assertive in repossessing what belongs to us.
The liberation forces fought fearlessly under the leadership of the two sons of the soil, as guns blazed in every corner of colonised Zimbabwe. That was a demonstration of selfless sacrifice that the liberation forces exhibited under the leadership of the two above-mentioned exemplary leaders whose academic stature was utilised for the greater benefit of liberating Zimbabwe.
It must be noted here that the symbiotic relationship that existed between the liberation forces (LF) and the PF government in-exile made it possible for the liberation of this country.
Let it also be clear in people’s minds that the fish and water relationship coupled with the respect of traditional leadership and traditional worship made it possible for the liberation of this country.
This was made possible by the people who used their academic knowledge for the better of the revolution and never to be treacherous.
Today, ZDF prides itself of medical doctors, philosophical doctors, engineers, educationists, social scientist, legal experts and so on. The force has well established academic institutions and soon will boast of a National Defence University.
It is hoped that the National Defence University, like those of America, China, Britain, Russia, Tanzania, Kenya etc will be the centre of studies that nurture graduates capable of formulating strategies that help to protect, defend, and safeguard national interests by developing beneficial policies that seek to grow Zimbabwe’s economy.
It is important to note that the ZDF continues to use its acquired academic knowledge to improve on its training curriculum. The ZDF training curriculum has produced a highly skilled force that prides itself of effective competences.
This was exemplified in Mozambique and DRC operations including the exemplary discharge of duty in UN peacekeeping operations where it continues to be sought like a hot potato.
For the avoidance of doubt, the force’s Special Forces who participated in a special force exercise in the Atlantic ocean in Namibia survived after swimming for more than 3km in deep oceanic waters infested with sharks when a military boat capsized.
None of the Zimbabwean team died and guess what; most of those who took part from other countries perished. ZDF therefore clearly demonstrated its skills and competences and who cannot pride that. Maybe this is the reason behind the call for security sector reform (SSR) by the West and its surrogate opposition parties.
Their main objective is to see the removal of the ZDF leadership so as to weaken the force in order to easily carry out regime change as happened in Libya, Ukraine and Egypt.
Fellow citizens, let us reflect on the good work done by ZDF. As a way of recognising the importance of education, the force helped various communities by constructing educational infrastructures in both urban and rural areas.
In Dotito, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, while driving past a dilapidated school, applied his acquired academic knowledge to champion the construction of a modern learning institution at Murongwe.
He applied his rare intellect to see the need for development rather than what neo-liberal academics would have used the same to demonise Zimbabwe in order to gain selfish fame.
In times of calamities such as floods and droughts, the force is seen helping affected communities with equipment such as helicopters and transport easing the effects of such calamities.
Fellow Zimbabweans, is this not a clear social responsibility where the force invests back into the communities which forms the basis of its recruitment?
Many wonder whether the uneducated and socially apprehensive RSF ever did this in any remarkable manner as applied by the ZDF.
This writer only hopes that the political leadership will continue to uphold the liberation legacy created by Dr Nkomo and President Mugabe, that of establishing a respected symbiotic relationship between the government in-exile and the military wings (ZANLA and ZIPRA) which made it possible for the decolonisation of this country.
It is a fact that there exist in China, Tanzania, America, Mozambique and Angola a strong relationship between the military and government. The reforms they talk of are of enhancing the effectiveness of the forces. Research has shown that most of the above mentioned countries take the betterment of the welfare of their forces as part of their SSR.
An example is America whose current president spoke of reducing the budget and size of the American force during his maiden campaign rallies but has done nothing to that effect.
If anything, America uses extensively the academic disposition of its forces to craft hegemonic strategies for its wanton control of the global space as is exemplified by its environment in Ukraine, Eastern Europe and Syria just to mention a few.
So, the dinosaurian call for SSR by the West and the MDC formations should not be taken seriously.
Thus, the youths are implored to emulate the good revolutionary works of the ZDF so that in future they will be able to protect, defend and safeguard Zimbabwe as has been the case in America and China for centuries.
Panganai Kahuni is a political socio-economic commentator.